Shnat Update by Lior Argaman 

Dear parents, shnattim and friends shalom rav,

We hope you are well.

Here in Israel we had an unusual week, if you can call anything on our program "usual" to begin with. It started with the crazy weather and through the vibe in the group, who is eager to have their Pessach break.

The Etgarniks were on a 5 day long seminar about the Israeli- Arab conflict. They went to different places all across the country, to see the complexity of the issue. They heard different narratives from all across the board- which was very difficult and confusing at times. The aims of the seminar were:
· The Etgarnikim will get a deeper understanding about the conflict, based on historical and contemporary information of a large-scale.

· The Etgarnikim should make an informed decision about their stance regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

· The Etgarnikim will consider the different alternatives for ending the current situation, and their influence over the Zionist idea and the Palestinian people.

· The Etgarnikim will experience writing educational peulot about the conflict for different age groups.

We are yet to process the feedbacks, but it was definitely a powerful one, and we are grateful to have such a devoted and intelligent group to work with around these issues.

Prior to this seminar, 95% of our Shnattim went to the Kinneret (See of Galilee) for the weekend- something they organizsed themselves, for themselves. Again and again we are amazed by the initiatives this groups takes to promote the Kvutzatiut (group and communal feeling), and so proud of them.

On Monday, while our lovely Machoniks had "Yom Tnua" all for themselves, as Etgar were on the seminar described, I participated in a meeting with the International Advisory Board of all the Zionist Global Youth Movements with MK Naftali Bennett, the Israeli Minister of Education. 15 Youth Movements are part of the Board, all the CEOs of their Movements were present. Netzer representatives were Maoz Haviv, the Netzer Olami Director, and yours truly. The Board thanked MK Bennett for his contribution to informal education, and asked to get more funds towards the Movements, who educate young Jews all over the Globe.

As I said, another awesome week on Shnat Netzer.

+ Etgar

Weekly update by Charley and Mikaela

+ Machon

Weekly update by Sophie Peterman

On Shnat we often experience some big moments. This week however I have found myself focusing much more on the little things. For instance, last weekend all of Ma’ayan joined together to go away camping at the Kinneret. This was a big moment for us as both Machon and Etgar came together and the kvutsa got to spend some quality time together really getting to know each other. Over the weekend we had both a Kab Shab and Shacharit on the beach, cooked food over our very own campfire and generally spent a lot of time swimming in the lake. What made this weekend so special for me though were perhaps not the more stand out moments but the quiet times we spent just sitting together on the beach. Or when a few of us sat in the dark looking out at the lights of Tiberias as we sat singing with a guitar. These small moments of calm and relaxation were what made for a really beautiful weekend where many friendships really found their feet.

Lovely weekend aside, as we are approaching chofesh we are all much more exhausted and perhaps in what you could call a ‘lull’ of a week. As negative as this sounds it has actually in different ways for all us helped. It has caused many to reflect on what they really want out of Shnat and in particular what we really want out of Machon. It has also made us value each other more and really appreciate the incredible friendships we have made here. For me it has made me reflect on how I want to spend the rest of my time here and how I want to make the most of this incredible experience I am having living in such an interesting city.

The other night Ella Sandler and I went out exploring in Jerusalem. We have found in the past couple of weeks that we normally end up going to the same places and wanted to find something new. We headed to the Ben Yehuda area and instead of staying on the main roads we went down the backstreets and found some really incredible and quirky places. We found a Jembe Bar which runs drumming workshops, a small bar where the walls are covered with different cup coasters from all around the world, a jazz café with incredible musicians and many many more exciting places. This week has really made me appreciate how despite seeming like a small thing how an amazing view or discovering a new restaurant to go to or just a well needed cuddle from a friend can be just as important if not more than the big things.

Have a great week folks,

Petes out xxx

Letter by Sarah Mali
Dear Machon Friends,
Please find below a Machon update of the last couple of weeks from Purim.
The Machonikim have worked really hard this past month and are looking forward to their Pesach break.
We want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Chag Sameach and thank you for your continued support and for making the Machon, through your different contributions, the best it can be.
Chag sameach and warm regards,

Purim on Machon:
We mentioned Purim on Machon by studying about the holiday in Judaism classes, dressing up, volunteering in different places in Jerusalem and celebrating together in a Purim party followed by the Megilla reading.

תמונה מוטבעת 1
Daniel, Caleb, Yoni, Henry (and Eli) dressed up, preparing for volunteer time.

תמונה מוטבעת 2
Playing music for children in 'Sha'arei Tzedek' hospital.

תמונה מוטבעת 3
Sharni, Tyla, Charlotte as duplicates of Mark Lazar - a teacher at Machon.

תמונה מוטבעת 6
Aya, Ben, Sophie and Ilana Enjoying Ice cream in Zicheon Ya'akov
Arielle Sofer, Betar Sydney, Australia
Being on Machon has been an amazing experience so far because I've had an opportunity to meet new people from all around the world with different ideologies to my own. This has allowed me to learn so much more about myself and the world around me

Tamar Shifroni, Hineni, Sydney, Australia
It's been really eye opening learning about the waves of Aliyot on this tiyul. It shows how in life not everything is what it seems, and it's taught me that I really need to experience things for myself to understand them. My love and passion for Israel and Zionism shouldn't be based on what other people have told me, rather on what I experience this year on shnat.

תמונה מוטבעת 13
Kiara Meltzer, Netzer, Melbourne, Australia
I am a feminist because I am strong. I am a feminist because I refuse to accept the oppression, discrimination and prejudice that women experience globally. I believe that we all need to fight, struggle and feel the tension of this issue in order to achieve a greater existence of love and acceptance, for us all. I am a feminist because I hate the dominance my younger brother expresses toward me, and the way he insists on advertising his strength to the girls in his class... the fact that his anxiety, emotions and vulnerability is expressed through anger and frustration, hurts me deeply. I feel so passionate about the issue of sexism because I see the effects it has on every human, especially as I sit with my friends while they cry about the submission they feel is forced upon them, in ways they didn't even realize. I am a feminist to show my gratitude for the privileged life that I have lived as a Western woman, and to never give up on achieving more for not only women in my society, but for the many women whose strong voices are endlessly silenced in less privileged societies. I will fight the rejection of the feminist plight with all of my strength and all of my heart. I am a feminist because I cannot think of one single reason not to be.
❤ Two weeks ago Kiara led, voluntarily, a program to all of the students of Machon on Feminism

+ Israel Update

Special event by Rabbis & Sheikhs group
March 15, 2016
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, we held a very special event organized by a group of rabbis and sheikhs of the IEA. The encounter included a group of individuals from Hebron, headed by one of the sheikhs of the group, who were involved in saving the lives of five Jews who accidentally entered a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron last September. The event was organized by Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, coordinator of the Rabbis and Sheikhs Group who teaches at the Othniel yeshiva. Several yeshiva students who are active in IEA ‎joined the event.
The group began the visit by paying their condolences to Nathan Meyer, the husband of Daphne Mayer who was murdered two months ago in front of her home. The Sheikh began by saying it was important for them to come to console and apologize on behalf of Muslims. He emphasized that they reject violence, strive for peace and believe that peace in this country will affect the peace of the entire world. They asked forgiveness for the actions of reckless people who suffer from a lack of religious understanding and perform acts diametrically opposed to Islam, because of the influence of agitators.
Nathan talked about Daphne who was a nurse at Soroka Hospital, where she cared for Jews and Arabs alike. In order to be able to give a better care to Arabs she had been learning Arabic. He also said that he heard many from Palestinian friends that they are afraid of the extremists, and that most people in Palestinian society do not identify with them.‎ Nathan concluded that peace starts from the heart and from ordinary people.
The man who hid Jews in his home until they were extracted confirmed these sentiments and said that about three-quarters of Palestinians support his actions but among youngsters there are many who incite, advocating a boycott against him and even making death threats.
Before we parted the Sheikh led a Muslim prayer for Daphne's soul and we all said "amen".
Then we meet with the head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council Mr. Yochai Damari. He described how he came to this place as a boy with his parents and now have been living here for four generations - including his sons and grandsons. He emphasized that they build only on rocky ground and make sure not to touch agricultural land or land belonging to someone else. He expressed his belief that the hand of the Lord is the one who returned the Jews to Israel and made us neighbors, and that only a minority is warlike, while the majority wants and needs to live in peace.
After the introduction Yochai presented projects he planned to improve the quality of life of Jews and Arabs in the region. He said that he presented the plan to Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and others, and all support it and want to promote it. The first project in the program is a joint industrial zone of 250 hectares, which will include factories, shopping and dining areas and a hi-tech center - all for both Israelis and Palestinians. The second project is a logistics center which will facilitate the marketing of the Palestinian's goods in Israel. The third project is a high-quality hospital serving Jews and Arabs. Today the level of occupancy in the hospital of Hebron is low due to the low quality of medical care they offer, so anyone who can travels elsewhere for treatment (mainly in Israel, Jordan and Qatar).
The basic condition for the success of all these projects is the understanding among the two communities that we live together as neighbors and we will continue to do so.
The Sheikh expressed his delight for the planned projects and his admiration for the care expressed for "the other". We know that God promised and brought the Jews to Israel and live here together. Israel spends 45 billion shekels a year on security, and yet when I walk down the street with the Sheikh's clothes - people are scared ... only living together can bring true security.
Finally we went to Othniel yeshiva - one of the country's largest “hesder” yeshivas (which combine religious study and army service). Two of the heads of the yeshiva welcomed us and invited us to lunch. When they presented us to the students at the lunch - they erupted in applause. After lunch, dozens of the yeshiva students gathered to meet with members of the group, where they also learned about the IEA.

+ International

First Jewish gay marriage in Latin America to be held at Argentine synagogue

+ Parasha Shavua

In the Parashat Hashavu'a corner, we will direct you to the World Union for Progressive Judaism's column "Torah from around the world", where each week another Progressive Rabbi writes about the weekly portion. For this week's portion-

+ Shabbat Treat and

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom, 
Lior and the Netzer staff





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